Guest Author - Peyton Creadick
Everyone’s Fantasy Frog? Reputed to have been originally bred by Phillippe Devosjoli and Robert Mailloux in an effort to capture the best traits of the beautiful c. cornuta (Amazon or Surinam Horned Frog), this frog is a hybrid cross between c. cornuta and c. cranwelli. is a sensitive frog. While captive bred Amazon Horned Frogs are now more commonly available, the wild caught Amazons were hard to acclimate and rid of parasites. I bought my first Fantasy Frog approximately 10 years ago, and he did not disappoint.
Since then, people have also crossed ornata (Ornate or Argentine Horned Frog) and cranwelli (most often sold as the albino Ornate Horned Frog because albinos are commonly produced in cranwelli lines but not in ornata lines), cornuta and ornata, as well. They are all now commonly called Fantasy Frogs, but this article deals primarily with the original hybrid.
The first thing to note about Fantasy Frogs: these frogs are said to be mules. This means they are sexless. I say “said to be”, because the Ligers and Tions were also said to be mules, as were the zebra crosses but occasionally offspring arrive unexpectedly.
The second thing to note about Fantasy Frogs: They grow quickly and are aggressive eaters (pinkies, fuzzies, hoppers, superworms, fish, frogs, and crickets). My Fantasy Frog’s adult size was approximately 5 inches which is slightly larger than adult male c. cranwelli. This isn’t surprising given cornuta’s smaller size.
I was not able to collect data on the adult sizes of other Horned Frog Hybrids. Given the smaller size of c. cornuta, I would expect c. ornata x cornuta to be of similar size to cranwelli x cornuta. I would also expect c. cranwelli x ornata hybrids to be the largest given that both species grow quite large (4 inches for males, 8 inches for females).
The third thing to note about Fantasy Frogs: They have excellent track records in captivity, but the hybrid debate rages on. They eat well, grow well, adjust to changes well, and have the beautiful large horns reminiscent of their c. cornuta parentage. Care is identical to that of cranwelli and ornata. That being said, these animals could do significant damage (as other hybrids such as the Flower Horn Cichlid have done) when released (deliberately or accidentally) into the wild. I’m reserving the hybrid debate for a series of articles, but in the mean time, think carefully before purchasing a hybrid.
In short, the cornuta x cranwelli Fantasy Frogs grow quickly, adjust to changes readily, and eat like horses, but they are hybrids and require careful consideration before purchasing. However, it appears that DeVosjoli and Mailloux accomplished their goals with this hybridization. With the hardiness of cranwelli and the horns of cornuta, they are incredible frogs . . . worth viewing and learning about at the very least.